Get on the bus, Fish Creek Falls |

Get on the bus, Fish Creek Falls

New route to start in winter; Hilltop could be included

— Starting this winter, a new city bus route will run along Fish Creek Falls Road.

George Krawzoff, transportation director for the city of Steamboat Springs, announced this week that the Colorado Department of Transportation has awarded the city $44,000 in federal grant funds to develop an expansion bus route. Providing a route for residents in the Fish Creek Falls Road area has been discussed since at least 2000, Krawzoff said, making the new route the culmination of a lengthy community effort.

“We’re happy that we’re able to do this,” Krawzoff said Thursday. “We will include a Fish Creek Falls/Tamarack loop in our winter service plan.”

Winter service schedules for city buses usually begin shortly after Thanksgiving, Krawzoff said. The new loop likely will wind up Hilltop Parkway from U.S. Highway 40, continue to Tamarack Drive and then descend Fish Creek Falls Road into Old Town.

“We prefer to descend Fish Creek Falls Road rather than climb it in winter conditions,” Krawzoff said.

The grant is part of the Federal Transit Administration’s 5311 program, which provides funding for transit services in rural and “non-urbanized” areas. Colorado’s share of funds from that program received an “unanticipated increase” this year, Krawzoff said, opening the door for Steamboat’s funding.

The city also has received an additional $294,000 in 5311 grant funding, which will be used toward the purchase of a new, diesel-electric hybrid bus. The cost of the 30-foot bus is close to $500,000, Krawzoff said.

On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved spending $196,000 from the city’s general fund to complete the purchase of the new bus. The California-based Gillig Corporation will manufacture and provide the bus, which Krawzoff said could be added to the city fleet in the winter of 2007-08.

Krawzoff said the city will not need another bus to provide service along the new Fish Creek Falls Road route.

“We should be able to do it with our existing fleet,” he said.

The city’s transportation department receives about $1.9 million in annual revenue from a citywide half-cent sales tax. The department’s total operating budget is about $2.4 million.

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